[Malignant melanoma of the conjunctiva]

Gustavo Amorim Novais, Carol Lynn Karp
Arquivos Brasileiros de Oftalmologia 2012, 75 (4): 289-95

INTRODUCTION: Melanocytic tumors comprise a wide range of lesions. These lesions can be nevi, primary acquired melanosis with or without atypia or malignant as conjunctival melanoma. Early recognition of the clinical features allows precise diagnosis and adequate intervention, reducing the rates of metastatic disease and mortality associated with conjunctival melanoma.

PURPOSE: To review clinical features, diagnosis, clinical and surgical treatment modalities of the different precursor pigmented lesions (Nevi and primary acquired melanosis) and malignant melanoma.

METHODS: Literature review was performed accessing the database of MEDLINE, PUBMED, LILACS e SciELO between 1980 and 2011. The keywords used, individually or combined, were: conjunctival melanoma, primary acquired melanosis, nevi, treatment, chemotherapy, recurrence, metastasis e mortality.

RESULTS: Relevant clinical information for the diagnosis of malignant melanoma and differentiation from other pigmented conjunctival lesions were accessed. Clinical and pathological features and different modalities of treatment for malignant melanoma have been reviewed.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients presenting with a pigmented conjunctival lesion should be evaluated by an experienced ophthalmologist. Ocular history, family history of melanoma, and clinical features of the lesion need careful assessment and malignancy risk evaluation. Digital photo documentation should be performed. Clinical or surgical planning should be done based on the clinical suspicion. Careful histopathology analysis is required for treatment orientation and prognostic factors identification, mainly in cases of malignancy.

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